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Wind River

Wind River: A Beautiful Yet Heartrending Tale of Inequality and Injustice

  • Jeremy RennerJulia Jones...
  • CrimeDrama...
  • Taylor Sheridan
reviewed by
Marija Loncarevic
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Wind River: A Beautiful Yet Heartrending Tale of Inequality and Injustice

Primarily known for his commended writing work in Denis Villeneuve’s brilliant Sicario and last year’s terribly underrated crime-drama Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan debuts his career as a director with Wind River, which is not an easy sit by any means. Based on various horrific statistics, which involve the long-running injustice against Native American women, the film is bleak and heartbreaking in its portrayal of a forgotten world, where rules don’t apply and justice is hardly ever served.

It all begins when U.S Fish and Wildlife hunter and expert tracker, Cory Lambert (Renner) discovers the frozen dead body of a young American Native woman in the wild and snowy wasteland of Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming. Distressed by the discovery, Cory, who lost his own daughter in a similar way some time ago, hands the case to Reservation Chief of Police, Ben (Greene), who soon calls on the help of the FBI agent, Jane Benner (Olsen), a passionate but an inexperienced official.

Unprepared for the bitterness of her surroundings, Agent Benner is eager to secure the crime scene before other officials take over, so that she can get back to where she came from. However, everything changes when more gruesome details of the young woman’s death are discovered, forcing the young agent to stay and investigate the young woman’s death. With the help of Cory’s expertise, who knows his way around the reserve better than anyone, the two soon team up and begin to dig for the truth; a quest which, of course, doesn’t come without its own set of consequences.

Wind River is a beautiful picture. Taking us deep into the ice-covered wilderness of the reserve, which happens to be the seventh largest Indian Reservation in the U.S, Sheridan, through the use of some gorgeously-choreographed and fast-moving shots of nature, delivers a secondary character to the story, with the reserve’s peaceful but, equally forbidding nature, maintaining its presence throughout the film’s running minutes. Beautiful and heartrending at the same time, the central story is equally poignant in its punch, with Sheridan infusing the movie’s slow-burning tension with sudden gusts of violence, adding a sense of excitement as a result.

Drawing complex performances from all involved, Renner is on top form, with The Hurt Locker star delivering a deeply-grounded and an empathetic performance of a man who is still overcome with the grief of losing his child. Equally strong, the young Elisabeth Olsen – the youngest sibling of the Olsen twins – shares good chemistry with her co-star, whilst managing to provide her character with a raw sense of confidence and poise throughout.

Sadly, a few elements prevent the picture from fully reaching its potential, such as the prolonged monologues. However, Sheridan still manages to deliver a poignant tale of inequality and injustice with the story’s small failings never completely finding a way to override the film’s intentions, or more importantly, message.

Like This? Try

Dances with Wolves (1990), The Dark Wind (1991), Hell or High Water (2016)

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Sheridan once again serves as the writer of Sicario 's follow up, Soldado, which is expected to be released in 2018.

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